There is Always Reason to be Grateful
This second principle is an antidote to victimization. It establishes that you are seen and provided for. The more you notice the truth of this principle, the less you will believe that you are a victim.
Looking around, itís obvious that life is orderly. A bee flies from flower to flower, eating and pollinating in accordance with a magnificent, ordered scheme.
Millions of years of evolution have exquisitely matched bee and flower so that neither can exist without the other. Why, then, do we believe that our own lives canít be effortlessly sustained? One major obstacle is that we see ourselves as victims. Our bodies are subject to aging and death. Accidents are unavoidable. Catastrophe and disaster looms just around the corner, controlled by a whimsical destiny. And simply imagining the terrible things that can happen to you brings as much suffering as the events themselves.
Being a victim is the logical result of being in constant danger. If God sustains us, then surely he must reverse this whole scheme of random accidents that puts everyone in peril. This is a tricky point, however, because we are also surrounded by abundance in nature. Optimists point to our green Earth overflowing with life, nourishment, and beauty. However, can a loving God really supply us with lifeís good things one day and pain the next? Most people who feel grateful to God tend to deny that he is also responsible for disease, calamity, and death. Yet an all-knowing, all-powerful deity canít be responsible for only part of what goes on. Either he sustains everything or nothing.
The way to escape from living under a God who brings pleasure one day and pain the next is to realize that God isnít a person. We only call God ďheĒ because our minds resist thinking of God as a total abstraction. In truth, being total, God has to be abstract. You canít wrap your mind around the All. Instead, we wrap our minds around the things we notice, and choose to believe in.
To the extent that you notice God in your life, acknowledge him with gratitude. God doesnít need to be thankedóafter all, he already has everything, including thanks. But by choosing gratitude you are selecting a benevolent aspect of the All on which you want to focus.
The purpose of gratitude is to connect yourself to a higher vision of life. You have the power to choose whether to activate the aspect of God that gives or the aspect that takes away. Whatever you pay attention to will grow. If you pay attention to those aspects of God that demonstrate love, truth, beauty, intelligence, order, and spiritual evolution, those aspects will begin to expand in your life. Bit by bit, like a mosaic, disparate fragments of grace will merge to form a complete picture. Eventually this picture will replace the more threatening one you have carried around inside you since infancy.
The external world claims to be real, but it too is an image created in consciousness and projected outward. Once you realize that you alone are the projector of reality, you will no longer be dominated by external events. You will correct the mistake that lies at the very root of victimization: A belief that the movie controls you, instead of the other way around.
Adapted from Why God is Laughing, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2008).